Mayor D. Michael Collins’ chief of staff was issued a ticket on Thursday for running a red light during Toledo’s water crisis.
Bob Reinbolt, who is also Mr. Collins’ safety director, was caught on a dash-cam video from a city police car Aug. 4 driving through a red light and skirting other traffic laws with police-style emergency lights on top of his city vehicle.
After media reports about the video, Mr. Collins issued a statement on Thursday saying that Mr. Reinbolt had “asked to be treated in the same manner as any member of the safety forces under his responsibility would be subject to.”
He was issued a ticket, according to the statement, and given counseling on the police department’s pursuit policy.
“We believe that laws that exist should be equally applied; hence a red-light citation has been issued to Mr. Reinbolt,” Mr. Collins said.
Mayor Collins said in an interview that he met with Mr. Reinbolt on Thursday, and Mr. Reinbolt asked that he be treated like anyone else, so the mayor said he would be issued a ticket.
“It was his suggestion,” Mayor Collins said.
Calls and emails Thursday to Mr. Reinbolt were not returned.
The video, recorded shortly after midnight on Aug. 4 by a Toledo police officer, shows a black sport utility vehicle going “Code 3” through a traffic light at Monroe Street and Detroit Avenue. An officer who saw the SUV followed it and eventually pulled alongside the vehicle when it was stopped, according to a police spokesman, and Mr. Reinbolt identified himself as the safety director.
TPD Deputy Chief Don Kenney said Wednesday that Mayor Collins was informed of the incident and did not request a supplemental report.
Mayor Collins would not say where Mr. Reinbolt was going during the incident.
“I am not giving you an explanation,” he said.
Toxic microcystin from lake algae contaminated Toledo’s drinking water system, affecting about 500,000 customers and prompting city officials to issue a do-not-drink advisory from Aug. 2 until Aug. 4.
A new city policy calls for Mr. Reinbolt to notify dispatch before he goes “Code 3,” and to only do so after he is given permission by a police or fire commander.
Mayor Collins said he didn’t think Mr. Reinbolt using emergency lights and sirens was an abuse of authority. If he had, he said, he would have fired him.
Dan Wagner, the Toledo Police Patrolman’s Association president, said he thought Mayor Collins handled the situation appropriately.
Mr. Wagner said he was unaware before the incident that Mr. Reinbolt’s city vehicle had emergency lights installed, and he didn’t know of any other Toledo safety director who had used them.
Going through intersections is one of the most dangerous elements of being “Code 3,” Mr. Wagner said, which is why police receive training on how to drive and are taught to go slowly and check for traffic; the video showed Mr. Reinbolt going quickly through the intersection.
“You aren’t blasting through,” Mr. Wagner said, “you are stopping to see that all cars have yielded the right-of-way.”